Who inherits when someone dies without a Will?

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Who inherits when someone dies without a Will?

My parents gave up custody of me when I was 4 years old to my father’s sister who is my aunt. My aunt was my legal guardian all throughout my childhood. My aunt has recently passed away. My aunt had named me the beneficiary on a couple of her retirement accounts. She did not however leave a will. Does my father who is her next of kin automatically assume all her other assets or do I have any right to them, considering she was basically my mother?

Asked on January 3, 2014 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If your aunt named you as her beneficiary for her retirement accounts, then those accounts should pass to you, regardless of whether she had a will. As for her other assets, they should pass to her next of kin (who is apparently your father). If those other assets are significant to you, you should talk to a local probate attorney. Under some circumstances, a court can find that there has been an equitable adoption, even though a person was not formally adopted. 


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